The New Porsche 911 GT3 Is An Expected But Impressive Improvement To The Breed
The new, 922-generation Porsche 911 GT3 is quantifiably faster than its predecessor, offers a six-speed manual transmission (a seven-speed PDK is standard), and can lap the Nordschleife in less than seven minutes (Porsche development driver Lars Kern clocked a 6:59:93 time around the 12.94-mile version of the circuit, about 17 seconds faster than the last GT3, and less than five seconds off the last GT3 RS).
It’s wider and more powerful than its predecessor, has more downforce (up to 150% more when the adjustable aero pieces are set to their most extreme positions) and more tech, but it weighs almost exactly the same as the outgoing GT3 (PDK-equipped 992 GT3s weigh 3,164lbs; six-speeds are 3126lbs). The dry-sumped 4.0L flat-six is naturally aspirated, has six throttle bodies, is capable of revving to 9,000rpm, and produces a peak of 502hp and 346lb-ft of torque with a 13.3:1 compression ratio. Porsche says it’s almost identical to the motor used in the recently revealed 992 GT3 Cup. In other words, this is an impressive car that genuinely delivers on the overused marketing theme of bringing motorsport engineering to the street. And it comes as a surprise to nobody.
When Porsche does its job, successful evolutions of its road and race cars are expected. Each generation and version of the GT3 will retain faithful fans—there’s more to enjoy about cars than the lap times they’re capable of—but the 992 version is inarguably the most potent performer yet, as it should be. The really good news is that the improved potential doesn’t seem to come at the cost of disconnecting the driver from the experience.
For the first time in a GT3, the front suspension setup does away with McPherson struts in favor of a more precise, motorsport-derived double wishbone system similar to what’s used on the company’s 911 RSR race car, and between the wishbones up front and the multilink rear, not a single piece of the suspension package is shared with the standard 911. Aiding in the improved grip on the aerodynamics side of the equation is a new swan-mount rear wing that is manually adjustable into four positions, along with an adjustable front spoiler.
To help keep the weight down, Porsche uses lighter glass for the canopy, and carbon fiber reinforced plastic for the hood, rear wing, and front spoiler. Customers looking for even more weight reduction can also spec their cars with a carbon fiber roof and carbon fiber bucket seats that shed roughly 26lbs. Further performance-enhancing options include the same tires used for the sub-seven-minute ‘Ring lap (Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R), and ceramic composite brake discs (the standard brakes are 408mm irons in the front, 380mm in the rear, with six- and four-piston aluminum calipers respectively). While it may not make you a quicker hot-lapper, you can also spec the GT3 with the familiar Chrono option, which adds stopwatches to the dash and instrument cluster, as well as a lap trigger to keep track of your times during track days.
New GT3s are set to go on sale in the US this fall, with pricing yet to be announced. A Touring model without the rear wing will also be coming later, for those who prefer flying under the radar to flying laps.